When it comes to the GOAT debate, no two names are more relevant than LeBron James and Michael Jordan. As two of the greatest basketball players ever, it's no surprise that they often get compared to each other.
And while many keep an open mind on the discussion, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith says that, in his mind, it's impossible for LeBron to pass up MJ. Here's what he said in an episode of 'First Take.'
"I understand how phenomenal LeBron James is, he's on the mount Rushmore, I got him number 2 all-time. I got him number two in the history of basketball, and you would think I've crucified this man.
But here's the deal: I saw what Jordan had to endure to get to where he was and to stay there. And the NBA game was very different back then, significantly rougher and the road to prosperity was very much harder. And that is what stands out in my mind.
To be 6-0 in the NBA Finals, 6 NBA Finals MVPs, unblemished in Championship round competition, would have went 8-0 if he hadn't retired after his father passed away. I'm telling you right now, to be, because of that, and because of what I saw from the day boy Pistons, because of what I saw from the Knicks, because of the Cleveland Cavaliers, because of all of those teams -- LeBron can't eclipse that. I'm gonna always have MJ number one."
Considering LeBron James is a 17x All-Star, 17x All-NBA player, and 4x NBA Champion, it is certainly a hot take to deny him a chance at the GOAT title.
Nevertheless, Stephen A. makes some interesting points. Jordan shined during an era of toughness and physicality that just isn't around anymore in the NBA.
Honestly, it's no wonder that Stephen A. holds him in such high regard.